THE CURTAIN ISN'T IRON by Joseph C. Harsoh
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A revealing inside picture of the Soviet satellites, based on at least two visits separated by a period of two years- 1947 and 1949. Joseph Harsch, known to a big audience of radio listeners, feels that the key to the world's future lies in eastern Europe, and that history tells us that Russia's combination of a strong state and a strong philosophy is not insuperable -- or new. Islam, the French Revolution, the Nazis- all had their day, and that ultimately, when power loomed more important than the good of the people, disintegration began. The importance of bread over doctrine is evident on the fringes,- Trieste, Italy, France -- all strongholds of Communism, have held the threat at bay, while the operations of the Marshall Plan built the strength of the west in Europe. As this reaches its limits, social and economic reform within the states must be effected; competence must be reenforced. And the United States must accept the fact that sustaining rebellion- as in the case of Yugoslavia is preventive of war only in so far as we recognize the rights of the individual countries to their own interpretation of freedom. Trade, the Voice of America, the Church, the books distributed through information centers, all keep channels open within the satellite countries. On the outskirts, Greece Finland, Austria, Eastern Germany, as well as Yugoslavia, show strength in withstanding Soviet pressures. Harsch explores the factors at work within each of the following countries that he knows at first hand, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Finland, Germany -- and everywhere signs point to phases of development, now the strengthened labor forces, now the trade blocks, the slowdowns, the awareness that Soviet promises are not kept, that austerity programs are too stati, and recurrently the expose of Russia's acquisitiveness and indifference to the people's welfare. War would provide a cure worse than the disease; liberation and redemption will come from within the states and we must extend aid without strings attached. The alternative is war. An informed and aware record.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1950
Publisher: Doubleday